Friday, September 12, 2008

That which scares me

Okay, I've kept pretty quiet about politics recently. Frankly, I'm a little burned out about it; regardless of your politics, this is the season for endless yammering. I pity the folks running for office on both sides of the race. You're expected to talk knowledgeably for hours every day, you're never sleeping enough, and if you make some slight gaffe, it's paraded around for days. It's not pretty and often crosses the line into actively distasteful territory.

But I recently ran across two bits of utter lunacy that I thought I had to share. The first was sent to me by a friend who's a hardcore Republican (I would say "Republican apologist", but I'm fairly certain she's convinced the Republicans have never, ever done anything that warrants an apology or explanation). It's a long-ish rant proposing that Obama is actually a plant by fundamentalist Islam, and that if he wins the election, we'll be handing control of the country over to The Terrorists. My friend wanted my comments, but I don't felt it warranted any; rather, I sent back this link. The scary part is, there are apparently a lot of people completely willing to believe this, including (apparently) otherwise intelligent friends of mine. I wonder if our electoral lunacy has produced a matching theory about McCain -- maybe that he was brainwashed during his five years in Hanoi, and if he's elected it'll be like handing the presidency to the hardline Vietnamese? Either way, it's incivil, demeaning to the candidates, and enfeebling the minds of those gullible and stupid enough to believe it.

The other bit of craziness involves Sarah Palin. I know she's been getting slammed a lot, some of it extremely undeserved. But some of it's also a bit deserved. Here's a clip from NBC in which we learn she doesn't know what the Bush Doctrine is. This is scary. I wouldn't expect everyone to know what policy "the Bush Doctrine" refers to, but she's running for vice president, and it's been the core of our foreign policy for the last six years. This would be like asking your doctor if you should be on beta blockers, and having him say, "what are these beta blockers of which you speak?" We're used to a certain level of idiocy from our elected officials, from Reagan's "ketchup is a vegetable" to Clinton's "it depends on what the meaning of 'is' is" to every single word uttered by Dan Quayle as veep. But we generally don't get the idiocy until after they're elected....

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